Park hopping is a big part of exploring the Walt Disney World and Disneyland theme parks. Park hopping simply means visiting one park first, then “hop” to second park (or third or fourth) on the same day. Without a Park Hopper option, visiting a different Disney park on the same day would cost twice as much.
Since the return of park hopping to Walt Disney World and Disneyland, there are some updated procedures you need to know. Here is some vital information on how to park hop at Disney World and Disneyland in 2023.
How to Park Hop at Disney World
The updated park-hopping system attempts to give guests more flexibility while keeping safety measures intact. It also ensures enough Cast Members are working on any given day to maintain appropriate crowd levels and monitor park attendance.
In 2021, guests were able to once again purchase Park Hopper options to add to their existing or new park tickets. However, you can’t just pick parks on the fly and hop whenever you feel like it. Park-hopping guests must schedule their first park of the day through Disney Park Pass Reservations.
So far, you don’t have to schedule which of the different parks you will hop to. However, you do have to at least enter your first park of the day before hopping to your second theme park of the day (or more if time allows). You must also wait for the park-hopping time frame to use your Disney Park Hopper ticket.
When Can You Park Hop at Disney World and Disneyland?
Park hopping hours currently begin at 2 pm in Walt Disney World and 1 pm in Disneyland. Starting February 4, 2023, Disneyland guests can begin park hopping at 11 am instead of 1 pm. Annual Passholders at Walt Disney World no longer have to make park reservations if they wish to visit a Disney park after 2 pm any day of the week. The only exception to this rule is Magic Kingdom on Saturdays and Sundays.
When to Buy Park Hopping Options
While we don’t have concrete numbers, park attendance and capacity limits are supposedly still in place. Because of this, theme park reservations (also known as Park Passes) are now a must, and park hopper tickets might seem more valuable than they used to be. Park hopping may or may not be the best option for your Disney vacation.
Factoring in travel time, even if you are staying at one of the Disney World resort hotels, might show you that park hopping won’t benefit your group. Alternatively, a quick trip to Disney World might necessitate park hopper passes to get the most bang for your buck.
At Disneyland, park hopper passes are a no-brainer, no matter the length of the trip. Both parks are within a short walking distance of one another, which makes park hopping easy.
Annual passes have park hopper benefits included in their price, but annual passholders still have to wait until 2 pm at Disney World or 1 pm at Disneyland to change parks.
When you buy Park Hopper options, you add to the price of each ticket in your multi-day tickets. Since you are paying for the option alone, you pay more on top of each ticket regardless of whether or not you use it.
Single-day, or base ticket, prices can be a popular option for guests who don’t mind spending their entire day in one park. Your one-park-per-day Disney theme park ticket may save you money in the long run!
Where to Park Hop at Disney World
When you do park hop on your Disney trip, there are combinations of parks that make more sense than others. Due to location and transportation options, Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios make a natural pair. Hollywood Studios is home to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and popular rides like Rockin’ Rollercoaster, Tower of Terror, and Rise of the Resistance.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios is the smallest of the Disney parks, and more than one day can easily be spent in Epcot, especially in the World Showcase. A half-day in each park, plus an additional day at Epcot, is an intelligent plan. You can use the Disney Skyliner to travel or travel by boat or on foot.
Magic Kingdom and Epcot both have monorail stations. You can transfer lines at the Transportation and Ticket Center. You only have to decide which park you would prefer to see in daylight and which park looks best after dark.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the main outlier for park hopping issues. The only way to get to that park is to drive, use ride-share, or take a gamble on Disney transportation. Disney buses are not my favorite, as the park bus transportation system is often slow and takes so much time that I’d rather spend on vacation!
Park Hopper Plus-Worth the Add On?
I wouldn’t buy the Park Hopper Plus option. It is a park hopper add-on that you may not necessarily need. This is an excellent tip for anyone looking to spend a little less. There are plenty of splurges to make at Disney World, but this is not one of them. Disney’s water parks are relatively inexpensive, even for full-price tickets.
Consider the length of your vacation, especially if it’s your first time at Walt Disney World. It is not possible to fit everything in on one trip. Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon may sound fun, but the hotel pool can be just as fun (and you’ve already paid for access to it)!
Take Park Hopping Detours
While outside the parks and transitioning between locations, consider a dining experience at one of the resort hotels nearby. Disney World regulars call this “resort hopping.
If you are leaving the Magic Kingdom via monorail, do a little resort hopping on the monorail loop. If you are around the Epcot area, stroll on the boardwalk or visit a resort accessible via the Disney Skyliner. You do not have to be a guest of the resort to dine in their restaurants or take in their ambiance.
A theme park reservation is not necessary to visit a resort hotel, but a dining reservation might be. Post-2020, certain resorts have been more strict about non-hotel guests using their parking lots. Check the Disney World website or My Disney Experience app for essential details on their current hotel policies.